The country of Haiti has awakened to horrific news this morning. Their president, Jovenel Moise, was assassinated by unknown assailants during the night at his home.
CNN reported that the official notification came from Prime Minister Claude Joseph.
Joseph said in a statement that a group of unidentified individuals attacked Moise's home at around 1 a.m. and fatally wounded the head of state. Haiti's first lady was also shot and is receiving treatment, he added.
The Prime Minister condemned what he described as a "heinous, inhumane and barbaric act" and called for calm.
"The security situation in the country is under the control of the Haitian National Police and the Haitian Armed Forces," the statement added. "All measures are being taken to guarantee the continuity of the State and to protect the Nation."
Moise was 53 years old. The former banana exporter spent most of the past year waging a political war with the opposition over the terms of his presidency.
Moise claimed his five-year term should end in 2022 -- a stance backed by the United States, United Nations and Organization of American States.
The opposition has argued he should have stepped down on February 7 this year, citing a constitutional provision that starts the clock on the term once a president is elected, rather than when he takes office.
The country's leadership is now in limbo. The second in command would have been the President of the Supreme Court would be next in line, but he recently died after contracting Covid-19.
For the acting prime minister Claude Joseph to formally replace the President, he would have to be approved by Haiti’s parliament. This is another roadblock of Moise's own making. Throughout his presidency, the President had repeatedly failed to hold elections at local and national levels, leaving much of the country’s governing infrastructure empty.
For now, let's pray that the people of Haiti have peace during their time of bereavement. We will have more details as they become available.